Thursday, 29 January 2009

reading your way there

A lot of my students are talking about travel plans at the moment, and a couple of them have also asked me about finding novels to read that are London books.

The combination reminded me that a novel with a strong sense of place often gives me at least as much of a sense of a city as any guide book could do. Sure, when you're standing on a street corner, looking for a place for dinner, a traditional guide is useful, but I often read books set somewhere before I get there, and I find that helps me connect to the life of the city. (Not always the contemporary life, though - Venice may be Commissario Brunett's beat, but I must confess that, for me, parts of Rome are Falco's)

Not everybody realises that, as well as the default setting of 'search by emotion', Whichbook also offers the option to search by setting . (There's also a text-based version if you're not quite sure where your destination is on the map.)

Whichbook is closely related to the UK's public library network, so you can expect to find the books recommended there in your local public library, along with the more traditional guide books.

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